Posted December 7, 2016 by Marko Swanepoel in Feature

The Burning Question: Have you ever sacrificed responsibilities to play games?


Since you’re here on a website called SA Gamer, I’m assuming that you’re an avid player of video games. Games are a method of escapism for a lot of us. We shelf the painful realities of the real world and enjoy a virtual world filled with wonder for a while. It can also simply be a method of unwinding, coming home from a long day of work and playing a few online matches to relax you. Whatever gaming does for you, it can always be seen as a positive, right? Not really.

Gaming addiction is a very real thing and it can be immensely destructive. When you have an unhealthy obsession with gaming, it can become a great hindrance in your life. I’m not talking about the time you played GTA V for 15 straight hours or only played games for the entire duration of a 3-day weekend. I’m talking about playing games so intensely and frequently that your other responsibilities fall by the wayside and you do continued harm to yourself.

I’ve personally had experience with this during my younger years. I would only play games and would write off important homework that I needed to do just to get some hours to play games. I’ve cancelled party plans, neglected people and became a shut-in because I played games too much. At that point, it wasn’t even about the enjoyment, it was just something I felt compelled to do and if I didn’t do it, I would feel empty and unsatisfied. Sort of like any other addiction.


I have a close friend that played so much Dota that it caused him to fail his university degree. Instead of working on projects and studying for exams, he simply put it all aside and played Dota. He essentially lost a few years of his life because he was obsessed with a game too much. One of my cousins also has a crippling addiction to games. His family would come visit us from our hometown which is 1500 km away and instead of spending some family time, he would simply sit in front of the television and play games. Every day, from sunrise to sunset without even stopping to eat sometimes.

I believe in the popular phrase “everything in moderation including moderation”. Gaming is a magical thing to be a part of, like I have waxed lyrically about many times, but it does have the potential to be destructive if you allow it to completely take over and rule your life. There are countless documentaries out there about MMO players that lost their jobs, had their spouse leave them or lost their house because they were too addicted to a game, people dying in internet cafes as they did marathon gaming sessions and so on.

Those are some extreme examples, but I want to ask you if you have ever given up on some responsibilities just so that you can play games? If you have, how severe was it? Was it simply a missed deadline or was it something more sinister and destructive like the examples I’ve mentioned above?

Marko Swanepoel